Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Office Breakfast or a home from home?

Have you ever eaten breakfast at your desk? It's time to reconsider such behaviour, says commentator on office and workplace life, Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times.

There is a new man in the office who sits at a desk just behind mine. Most mornings he's in early, as am I, and as I leaf through the newspapers, I hear a rustling sound and the ring of metal on china followed by a slurp-munch-slurp noise.

I look around and see that he has pushed his keyboard aside and at his elbow is a box of Fruit 'n Fibre cereal. Presently, he gets up, takes the bowl to the sink, washes it and returns to his desk.

It makes no sense to eat cereal at work. It takes about 90 seconds to prepare and eat a bowl of Bran Flakes at home. The fridge is to hand, as is the dishwasher. But over the past decade there has been a steady onward march of objects, activities and emotions from hearth to cubicle, so there is now almost nothing left that belongs entirely at home.

People these days turn up in sweat pants, take a shower, clean their teeth and apply make-up when they get to work. Offices double as wardrobes and laundry rooms with damp towels, spare clothes and shoes strewn carelessly around the place. Grooming complete, workers present themselves at their desks, where they are greeted by stuffed toys, rugs, bunches of flowers and, of course, photographs of children and pets.

Differences in what we wear and how we behave at home and work have been steadily eroded. We may still be marginally smarter and more polite in the office, but it's a matter of degree. Crying and shouting are both deemed perfectly acceptable, as are jeans and flip-flops.

It is even OK to sleep on the job - it's called a power nap, and a few offices have installed beds or sleep pods to make it easier for us.

Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll are part of office life, too. The first and the second are officially forbidden, but still practised when no-one is looking. Rock'n'roll can now be done quite openly at work, thanks to the iPod. We also watch television at our desks, keep up with who did what last night on Facebook, do our shopping online and get the parcels conveniently delivered to our desks by the office post boy.

So is there nothing left that we do at home but not at work? There is still a taboo on nudity in the office, and I don't think I've seen anyone at a desk wearing a pair of flannel pyjamas.

Neither have I caught them knitting or daubing oil paints on to an easel, though that may be partly because hardly anyone does such things at home anymore either.

There is only one thing that people choose to do at home but not at work: to give birth, though this can't be far off. One colleague recently sent me an e-mail about a work matter as she was being wheeled into the delivery room, so to have the baby in a birthing pool on the floor at the office would seem the logical next step.

There is one final activity that we do less and less of in the office - work.

But this makes perfect sense: there is no point in working there when we can do it so conveniently at home instead.

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:

Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond

Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat

Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Leading up to next months "Male YA Auhtor Month" (MYM) today's show was a chat about why the month event was set up, following a challange from YA Auhtor Alexander Diaz, and how I went about getting a list of authors etc.

I went through all of the guests that will be appearing over the next month stating some of their book etc.

This months are for you the listeners, readrs and bloggers so I hope you get a chance to lsiten to some of the shows.

Below is the blog about MYM, and you can lsiten to todays radio show at.

"A Book and a Chat Male YA Author Month Chat"

or you can download the mp3 file of the show from

November is MALE YA MONTH the results of a challenge made to me by one of my guest following my successful YA Month of shows in January.
Are there enough YA writers and readers of YA literature out there to fill a month of "A Book and a Chat" shows?

I took up the challenge... contacting various YA bloggers to send me a list of some of their favorite male YA authors. The response was overwhelming with nearly every person I contacted agreeing to be on the program. Add to that a sprinkling of Male bloggers and Novembers "A Book and a Chat Month Male YA Month" (MYM) is born.

(For more details check - Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat)

GUESTS/(These will all be for 1 hr) Blog Talk Radio Show:

Nov 2nd Heidi R. Kling interviews Barry (Storyheart) Eva - Tues 6:30pm EST

Nov 4th Andrew Auseon - Author of "Freak Magnet", "Funny Little Monkey" etc… - Tues 6:30pm EST

Nov 6th Jay Asher - Author of "Th1rteen R3asons Why" - Sat 11:00am EST

Nov 9th Daniel Waters - Author of "Generation Dead" series - Tues 6:30pm EST

Nov 10th David Macinnis Gill - Author of "Black Hole Sun" and " Soul Enchilada" - Wed 6:30pm EST

Nov 11th William Kostakis - Author of "Loathing Lola" - Thur 6:30pm EST

Nov 13th R.A.Nelson - Author of "Teach Me", "Breath My Name" and "Days of Little Texas" - Sat 11:00am EST

Nov 15th Jon Skovron - Author of "Struts & Frets" and "Misfit (2011)" - Mon 6:30pm EST

Nov 16th Barry Lyga - Author of "Fan Boy and Goth Girl", "Boy Toy", "Hero Type" etc… - Tues 6:30pm EST

Nov 17th James - Author of "Book Chic" blog - Wed 6:30pm EST

Nov 18th Shaun David Hutchinson - Author of "The Death Day Letter" - Thur 6:30pm EST

Nov 20th Daniel Nayeri - Author "Another Faust", "Another Pan" - Sat 11:00am EST

Nov 23rd Steve Brezenoff - Author of " The Absolute Value of -1", "Alley of Shadows" etc… - Tues 6:30pm EST

Nov 24th Alex - Author of "Alex reads books" blog - Wed 6:30pm EST

Nov 25th Estevan Vega - Author of "The Sacred Sin" and "Arson" - Thur 6:30pm EST

Nov 27th Allan Frewin Jones - Author of "The Faerie Path" and "The Warrior Princess" series - Sat 11:00am EST

Nov 30th Alan Gratz - Author of "Something Wicked", "Something Rotten", "The Brooklyn Nine" etc… - Tues 6:30pm EST

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:

Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond

Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat

Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Monday, November 1, 2010

"Obeisant" crowns a differant Scrabble champ.

The somewhat stayed reputation of "Scrabble" as a game played in sleepy backwaters by elderly school teachers and has been overturned as a transsexual in a pink wig and matching PVC dress was crowned UK national champion.

Mikki Nicholson, 32, from Carlisle in Cumbria, took the crown with the word "obeisant", which scored 86 points.

She outplayed Mark Nyman, who has won more than 20 major Scrabble contests, including the World Championship.

“People think Scrabble is just about words but it's the numbers that win the game”
Mikki Nicholson
National Scrabble Champion 2010

Other words used in the final were "inficete", meaning unfunny, and "oceanaut", an undersea explorer. "Obeisant", which means obedient or showing respect, proved crucial in the deciding fifth game.

Thrilling victory

Ms Nicholson, who learned to play the game on the internet five years ago, said: "It was a big challenge but I wouldn't have entered if I didn't think I had a chance of winning.

"I'm thrilled to have won and I can't wait to celebrate."

It was scant consolation for Mr Nyman, who has featured in Dictionary Corner on Channel 4's Countdown, that he got the highest scoring word in the final game - "updates" - which scored 105 points.

Explaining her route to victory, Ms Nicholson said: "A good Scrabble player is intuitive. They also need to be good with numbers.

"People think Scrabble is just about words, but it's the numbers that win the game so a sound mathematical brain is an advantage.

"The best word I played was 'inficete' as it changed the flow of the game and my best move was when I played 'tenor', as it allowed me to open up the board for me to play a high-scoring K."

Ms Nicholson, who is currently unemployed, said she planned to spend the £1,500 prize money on a trip to Malaysia in December to compete in another Scrabble tournament.

A Scrabble spokeswoman said: "Scrabble is a game for anyone to enjoy, loved by generations of families, men and women and anyone."

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:

Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond

Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat

Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

FIsh and Purple Chips ?

A purple potato that growers claim is healthier than the standard variety is going on sale in UK supermarkets.

The Purple Majesty has a distinctive deep colour and contains up to 10 times the level of antioxidant, anthocyanins, compared with white potatoes.

It was developed at Colorado State University from a traditional variety.

Despite its appearance, the potato now being grown by Perthshire producer Albert Bartlett after two years of trials, is not genetically modified.

Potatoes originate from the high reaches of the Andes and come in thousands of varieties, with many having developed deep red and purple colouring.

The trials found that the Purple Majesty could be grown in Scotland.

'Positive effect'

An initial crop of 400 tonnes of the variety will go on sale in Sainsbury's stores across Scotland and the south-east of England this week, with a larger yield expected next year.

Albert Bartlett, which has its headquarter in Airdrie, has been working with Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh and the Scottish Crop Research Institute to determine what health benefits there could be from eating the potato.

Dr Catherine Tsang, who took part in research, said: "Our research specifically looked at Purple Majesty potatoes which, unlike white potatoes, contain a natural pigment called anthocyanins.

"It's this pigment that gives the potato the purple appearance, but more importantly, it possesses antioxidant properties, which are maintained even after cooking."

She added: "We're all aware of the stories about red wine having a more positive effect on the heart than white wine, due to their higher levels of antioxidant.

Dr Tsang said anthocyanins contained antioxidant properties which some studies had suggested could have a positive effect on blood vessels and reducing blood pressure."

However, other studies have found little evidence of the conclusion.

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:

Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond

Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat

Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Monday, September 6, 2010

ELO's Mike Edwards killed by hay bale in freak crash

An early member of 1970s British rock group ELO (Electric Light Ochestra) was killed in a "freak" accident when his van was crushed by a bale of hay, police said.

Cellist Mike Edwards, 62, died after the 94-stone (600kg) bale careered down the side of a steep Devon field before it smashed through a hedge and on to the road.

Mr Edwards was identified using photos and YouTube footage. He was with the Birmingham band from 1972 to 1975.

The musician, who lived in Totnes, was a founder member of the classical Devon Baroque orchestra.

Friend 'devastated'

"He was simply the nicest guy and a brilliant musician," Angus Gordon, the chairman of Devon Baroque, told BBC News.

"He was capable of turning his hand to any type of music at all," Mr Gordon said.

"He taught the cello and his incredible patience and encouragement - even with the slowest of students - made him a very good teacher.

"I'm devastated. He was a really likeable person and such good fun that I keep thinking this has been a horrible mistake."

Mr Edwards was due to play with the medieval folk band Daughters of Elvin on Saturday evening.

Officers believe he swerved into another vehicle as his van was struck by the bale at about 1230 BST.

The other driver was not hurt.

Initially police had difficulty in tracking down Mr Edwards' relatives but a spokesman said officers had now traced his brother David in Yorkshire.

Sgt Steve Walker, of Devon and Cornwall police traffic unit, described the crash as "a tragic accident".

The Health and Safety Executive is investigating what has been described as a "farm accident".

'Sadly missed'

ELO was formed as the Electric Light Orchestra in 1971 by Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood.

The band, who played rock and pop music with classical overtones, sold more than 50 million records worldwide and had numerous hit singles and albums in the UK and the US.

Mr Edwards was in the line-up for ELO's first live concert.

A tribute on the Face the Music website said: "Mike quickly became a crowd favourite with his exploding cello and rather unique solo party piece that involved playing the cello with a grapefruit."

Mr Edwards' friend and Devon Baroque colleague Jasper Solomon, who also lives in Totnes, said: "Mike's talent was his musicality - he could range over all genres from classical to jazz, modern to medieval renaissance.

"He lived for his music and it showed."

Barry Eva (Storyheart)
Author of "Across the Pond"

My Blogs:

Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond

Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat

Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Regression for writers block is better than sex

As a radio (blog talk-radio) show host, I get to chat to authors, covering may different subjects and styles of writing, in fact I celebrated my 200th radio show in August. One of the subjects that I have been bringing up over the last several months was the “string theory” or parallel universe for writers.

At the time this was really tongue in cheek, now, with what has happened to me over the last few weeks, I just wonder how farfetched it really is?

My theory is that there is a parallel universe where the stories that us writers put down on paper exist, they are waiting there, for some author to come along and be the conduit that enables them to be shared in this world. Ninety nine percent of fiction authors will tell you, that no matter how detailed their plan is and how much they sketch out the plot, the characters; once you start to write, lead the author off on numerous tangents. Characters that originally were there just as background, suddenly take over the story, leading you a merry dance through the next few chapters if not the rest of the book.

I have spoken to numerous show guests about this very thing, some have even shared that such a character has taken over the book completely, nagging at their sub-conscience if they dare to stop, or spend time on another story.

This character pressure can take place during the creation period, or even, as some have shared, during moments of sleep. Several authors have explained that they keep a paper and pencil next to them during the night, to catch the moments of clarity when waking from a dream.

This creating from your sub-conscience, which is basically what it boils down to, took on a different aspect these last few weeks.

For some time I’ve been pondering statements made by fellow stall holders at a few book signing events. For some reason us authors tend to get put next to, or close to people doing “palm readings”, “tarot cards” and such. A few times, when business was slack (quite often), I and fellow authors have gone for “readings” from these stallholders. Each time I’ve had whatever type of reading, I’ve been told “you are a very old soul, and have been around a long time.”

What does that mean, “been around a long time”, does it mean I’m even older than I thought, or am I, as the old music hall song goes, “one of the ruins Cromwell knocked about a bit.”

Quite by chance I heard of a lady living not that far from me who does a readings, healings, and past life regression. Up until now I’ve never really thought much about such things; however with the previous statement about being the “old soul” I contacted her about a “regression session”.

Just a little skeptical, wondering if I could even relax enough to be a good subject, I went to the ladies house. It was a three hour session, the first hour just talking about things, how things worked, and what was I expecting etc. To be honest I did not know what to expect. I’ve heard of people going through two or three regressions at one session, and had no idea what was ahead of me.

When one thinks of events like “regression sessions” you perhaps think of being hypnotized like the TV shows, you know, “when I mention food, you will quack like a duck” sort of thing. This is actually far from what actually happened.

You relax, being stopped just above the point of going to sleep, you know where you are, you know what is going on, you can hear the person talking to, the air-conditioning unit, and people in the street. You are there but not there. Some people I’ve heard take you to a room with many doors, others to a road with many paths. Myself, I was taken to a library in a very old castle, and there found a shelf of books, each one being one of my past lives. Two books stood out, one blue and one red; the others were all dull grey. I took the blue book, place it on the floor and it grow until there was a door through which I stepped into a past life.

Okay some folk are saying, load of rubbish, and to be honest I had much the same skepticism. However as I moved through the past life, sometimes being able to touch things, sometimes hear things sometimes even smell things. I knew I was there, I was part of it. I remember at the time thinking, is this real or am I just a story teller narrating a story that is being created in my sub-conscience. Is this how stories come to writers? Be it in dreams or perhaps when they start creating their novel?

After what seemed to be about fifteen or twenty minutes I was brought back from my past life, with a greater understanding of some of the issues in my present life as well as many questions.

I was totally shocked to find upon completing the session, that instead of the fifteen minutes I thought I’d been in regression, in fact it was over an hour and a half. This was a huge shock to me; it was like I’d jumped into a different time line. Perhaps this is how alien visitors are able to travel so far and so fast? But I guess that’s a story for another time.

This event was on a Monday, and left me very confused, also though, seemingly more open mentally to the idea that such things were possible. Even that my theory for writers could actually be true, even if that “parallel world” might actually be your sub-conscience, or was your sub conscience the link to the parallel world?

Perhaps the relaxation part of a regression session, taking you to that point just above sleep, would be a way to get out of writers block?

I might have left it at that if it had not been for what happened over the next three days.

Let me explain first off, I book guests for my show “A Book and a Chat” three sometimes four months in advance, guests authors and even bloggers can come from any form of writing. I do not plan groups of shows unless they are a special like my November Male YA Author month. I sometimes have certain guests for longer Saturday shows, though normally it’s just a case of filling in dates with virtual tour authors or those just looking to share their work with the listening audience. Many times I do not even check what the author has written until a day or two before the show.

On the Tuesday after my regression session, I researched my guest for that night “Randolph J Rogers”. Imagine my surprise to find his book “The Key of Life” was all about regression and past lives. Coincidence? Is there such a thing as coincidence, or is it we all have our paths to walk down?

I would have just said yes, just one of those weird quirks, and then came Wednesdays show. My guest on Wednesday was Terry M. Drake chatting about his book “Live Happily ever After…Now”. Again will state I make no plan of shows have no idea when certain guests are on the show booking them three four months ahead of time. Yet the two days after my own regression session, and the day after my chat with Randy Rogers, here I was chatting to an author about how our lives are there before us, the choices we have in the paths we follow.

As you can guess by this time my own feelings, believes and understanding were starting to be shaken, this was not improved by my guest on the Thursday nights show.

Paul Rademacher and his book “A Spiritual Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe” once again lead me down paths that had been the theme of the whole week.

My views over the last week have changed and I am even more trying to understand how as writers we are guided by some force, be is from another world or our own sub-conscience to create the plot and characters that we do in our stories. As I jokingly said to one guest when she was saying that one of her characters might not be pleased with how she had displayed them, and that she kept getting the feeling of their displeasure when she wrote about that character.

Just imagine, if these stories were from another world, how one day they might visit this planet, and when you answered a knock on your door, there would be all your characters wanting to speak to you about how you had written about them.
Since that week, thoughts have been spinning around my head and in my dreams, telling me “I must put what happened down on paper”, so here it now is.

Anybody who knows me or has heard my show “A Book and a Chat” will tell you I am far from the séance driven, regression seeking, palm reading person that these events have made me look. I am fun loving and always looking for a laugh; however this last week or two has made this author think.

Anyway, as the title says, and as I found out when my clock seemed to go out of balance, a regression session lasts a lot longer than sex.

A week after I wrote this article, I was laying in bed thinking about what I had written and how strange things had become, when suddenly a voice came into my head saying…

Your name was Seth”.

I was freaked out. One of the things from the regression session was I knew my wife’s name and my daughters, but could not remember what mine was. I was told this was not unusual during regression session. It is something that had been playing on my mind since that day. Now out of the blue I had this voice telling me that my name had been “Seth”. I must admit I was shaking for a good ten minutes after the event. However it made me think even more about these voices or dreams that authors get telling them the story etc.

Barry Eva (Storyheart)
Author of "Across the Pond"

My Blogs:

Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond

Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat

Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Friday, July 30, 2010

Justice for all... Clamp down equality

Luxury car worth £1.2m clamped outside Harrods

A luxury car valued at £1.2m was clamped outside Harrods in central London after being illegally parked.

The Koenigsegg CCXR and a £350,000 Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SuperVeloce were both clamped on the afternoon of 22 July.

Kensington and Chelsea Council said the light-blue vehicles were in serious contravention of parking rules.

The Knightsbridge store was bought by members of the Qatari royal family in April for £1.5bn.

It was bought by the Qatar Holding group, led by the Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani, from Mohammed Al Fayed

Both the cars are very rare with the Swedish-made Koenigsegg being one of only six ever made.

'Effective deterrent'

A Harrods spokesman said: "Any matters relating to parking tickets and enforcement are strictly the domain of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea."

The council said £120 penalty charge notices were issued, but the cars were released for £70 each as the fines were paid within 14 days.

A spokesman said: "There is a greater shortage of parking space for residents in Kensington and Chelsea than practically anywhere else in the country.

"At the same time we have a huge number of visiting motorists attracted here by our fine shops, restaurants and other attractions.

"Our priority is our residents. To keep space available for them, we must deter visitors from taking up residents' bays and our experience is that clamping is simply the most effective deterrent."

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:

Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond

Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat

Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Only 145 Shopping Days to Christmas

One of the Londons top stores is to start its Christmas trading 145 days before the holiday.

Selfridges in Oxford Street will launch its Christmas season on 2 August - its earliest-ever start for the store.

People keen to plan ahead can purchase trees, crackers, fairy lights or even a £500 life-size donkey.
The store said previous sales had shown some customers, especially overseas tourists, started thinking about Christmas during August.

Last year, its festive shop sold more than 1,000 baubles during the first week of trading after opening on 8 August.

The shop said customers could paint their own baubles this year.

Geraldine James, Selfridges Christmas Shop's buying manager, said: "Christmas is coming earlier each year.

"I can see a time when we offer a capsule Christmas collection throughout the year."

The business was founded by American entrepreneur Gordon Selfridge in 1909 and run by him until he retired in 1940.

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:

Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond

Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat

Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Friday, July 16, 2010

Badger Causes Wobbly Lines

We have been a little light on the funny side of life over the last few weeks, but today is a good one...

Workmen painting white lines on a main road left a gap for a dead badger because it was not their responsibility to clear up the carcass, a council has said.
The animal was killed on the A338 near Downton on the Hampshire-Wiltshire border but when Hampshire County Council workmen came to paint white lines in the centre of the road, they decided to leave a space until the body had been removed.

The responsibility for picking up the remains was the responsibility of New Forest District Council.

Businessman Kevin Maul, of Winterbourne Dauntsey, Salisbury, Wiltshire, who spotted the gap in the lines, said: "I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I saw this poor old badger who had been there over a week.

"Then I drove home to see his body between the lines - they had painted the road, but left a gap where he lay."

Mel Kendal, Hampshire County Council executive member for the environment, said: "We would usually liaise with our colleagues at the district council, who dispose of animal carcasses on the highways, to ensure the badger was removed before the white line-painting crew did this stretch of road.

"This appears not to have happened in this case and the white line-painting crew did what they thought was best until arrangements could be made to dispose of the carcass.

"These arrangements have now been made and the gap in the white lines will be filled in, at no extra cost to the council tax-payer

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:

Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond

Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat

Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cat, Bear or Seagull?

Mr Pooh: lives in Shoreham by Sea, on the Sussex coast (in England), which is just a stones throw from where I used to live in Engalnd, okay a very long stobnes throw, but close enough.

He's a seagull. Or maybe he's a cat. Or maybe, given his nickname, he's actually a bear.

Whatever he 'thinks' he is, Pooh the seagull is a family pet.

He has been part of the Grimwood family from Shoreham-by-Sea ever since he arrived unexpectedly as a baby.

Pooh didn't even arrive conventionally by exiting an egg.

In fact the Grimwoods found him in their fireplace one day.

"We heard a rustle in the lounge when we were watching telly and we suddenly thought 'Ooh - what's that?" said June Grimwood.

"We reached into the chimney and pulled out this young chick."
He was just a baby gull at the time, albeit an ash-covered baby after falling down the chimney.

"We put him back on the roof, but it was a bit of a windy day and he fell back off."

Instead of getting into a flap, June and Steve Grimwood calmly nursed him and fed him cat food.

He ate it alongside some unlikely companions - the family cats.

"He slept in the cats' basket, mingled in amongst the cats and was happy as Larry,"

Then, one day, Pooh flew the nest.

But he still returns for six months every year. In fact, in a sense, he's still at home with Mum and Dad, because he and his partner nest on their roof.

Pooh comes in for meals three times a day, with the cats Mitzi, Gus and Henry.

"He feeds out of the cat bowls, he comes indoors and takes the cats' biscuits out of their feeder. I think he does believe that he is actually a cat," said Mrs Grimwood.

"I wouldn't say he's mixed up. He's just very clever. He knows where to go for a good B&B (Bed and Breakfast)is by the seaside every year."

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:

Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond

Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat

Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Stamp of Approval

One of Britain's rarest stamps has been sold for £400,000 ($600,000) by a Jersey-based stamp dealer (that Jersey as in the country, not state).

The 1904 6d Pale Dull Purple (I.R. Official) was sold to an anonymous private buyer by Stanley Gibbons Investment.

The stamp was issued on 14 March 1904, but was withdrawn almost immediately after issue.

Only 19 sheets were ever printed and on withdrawal, almost all were destroyed.

Director of Stanley Gibbons Investment, Keith Heddle, said: "The 6d I.R. Official is one of the most sought-after stamps in the world.

"Understandably our client is thrilled to own such a unique and coveted piece."

Stanley Gibbons Investment said the stamp was rare because it was issued on the same day as an order came into force withdrawing all official stamps from use.


My Blogs:

Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond

Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat

Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Friday, May 21, 2010

Playground for Seniors

London's first dedicated "pensioners playground" is set to open in Hyde Park after being given the go ahead by Westminster City Council.

The £40,000 playground will feature fitness equipment designed specifically to provide gentle exercise for people over the age of 60.

The playground will be signposted Hyde Park Senior Playground, although under-60s will not be banned

Play areas for older people are already popular in China and parts of Europe.

Healthy lifestyles

Located in the park's pavilion tennis and bowls centre, the playground is intended to help adults continue active and healthy lifestyles in later years.

It will contain six pieces of equipment will offer users a balance of exercises to work the arms, legs and upper body.

Once complete, it will include a cross-trainer, body-flexer, free runner, sit-up bench, flex wheel and a bike to improve strength balance and flexibility.

The idea was proposed by the Knightsbridge Association, a local residents' association, and will be funded by Westminster City Council.

"In the United Kingdom there are now more pensioners than children but few facilities for them in our parks," said Madeline Elsdon, from the Knightsbridge Association.

"We proposed the playground because many older people find indoor gyms intimidating and expensive and therefore aren't exercising enough."

Westminster councillor Lee Rowley said: "Exercise isn't just for young people - older residents should have the opportunity to get fit and active as well. "

The first pensioner's playground in UK opened in Manchester in 2008.

Work on the Westminster playground was due to start next month and was expected to open in spring.


Direct link to the show
"A Book and a Chat with Robert Boich"

or you can download the mp3 file of the show from
"Robert Boich"

You can find out more about my guest and their book at:
"Robert Boich - Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting!"

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:

Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond

Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat

Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Big Ben to show election results

For those of you who did not know, and by that I mean Americans, the UK is currently leading up to a general election on May 6th. The BBC have announced that the results of the general election are to be projected on to St Stephen's Tower, which houses Big Ben, for the first time, by the BBC. (Big ben is actaully the name of the bell in the tower not the tower itself)

The number of seats won by the three largest Westminster parties will be updated over the course of the night.

The images, illustrating the state of the parties, will be beamed from the moment the first result is declared until about 0530 BST the next morning.

The BBC said it was "delighted" with the initiative.

With four days of campaigning left, the latest opinion polls suggest the election remains finely balanced and that a hung parliament - where no party has an overall majority - remains a possibility.


The idea behind projecting the results is to provide a clear and simple source of information and an arresting image.

The projections, which will not carry BBC branding, will be beamed onto the side of St Stephen's Tower, at the Houses of Parliament, which houses the world-famous bell known as Big Ben.

They will provide a running tally of the number of seats won by Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, along with those gained by the smaller parties and independents combined.

In the minutes after polls close on 6 May, the details of an exit poll conducted by NOP/Mori will be beamed onto Big Ben, under an agreement between the BBC, ITN and Sky News.

The results projection, which will be removed after dawn on 7 May, will feature a "winning line", representing the 326 seats that any party will need to win to be sure of an outright victory.

The idea was approved by the parliamentary authorities, responsible for the management of its buildings.

"This is an historic election," said Craig Oliver, editor of the BBC's Election Night programme.

"We're delighted Parliament is joining with the BBC to project the results onto Big Ben for the first time ever."

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:
Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond
Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat
Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2012 Olympics Statue Chosen

UIn case people do not know, and that goes for those in the USA, the next Olympics are being held in England (I'm still hoping to get some tickets. Today it was announced that the design of monument to mark the London 2012 Olympic Games was a design by Turner Prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor.

Here Is The Article:

A spiraling sculpture designed by Turner Prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor has been chosen as the monument to mark the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The 115m tall piece, named the ArcelorMittal Orbit, will be placed in the Olympic Park and will be 22m higher than New York's Statue of Liberty.

The £19.1m design incorporates the five Olympic rings and will offer visitors panoramic views of London.

London Mayor Boris Johnson revealed plans for the tower on Wednesday.

"I am deeply honored to be invited to undertake this challenging commission," Kapoor said.

"I am particularly attracted to it because of the opportunity to involve members of the public in a particularly close and personal way. It is the commission of a lifetime."

The artist will work with leading structural designer, Cecil Balmond of engineering firm Arup.

ArcelorMittal Orbit will be built near the Olympic stadium

Organizers said Balmond had worked on "some of the greatest contemporary buildings in the world", including the CCTV building in Beijing, as well as numerous Serpentine Gallery pavilion commissions.

''Long after the Games are over, our aim is to have a stunning spectacle in east London that will be recognized around the world," Mr Johnson said.

"Anish Kapoor's inspired art work will truly encapsulate the energy and spirit of London during the Games and, as such, will become the perfect iconic cultural legacy.

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:
Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond
Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat
Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Picture Says A Thousand Words

Do you have a few pounds/dollars to spend on something nice for the living room wall? Well here's your chance, a painting by JMW Turner which has not been seen in the market place since 1878 is about to go to auction in England.


An 1839 painting by JMW Turner has been tipped to fetch up to £18m, when it is sold at Sotheby's in London on 7 July.

According to the auction house, Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino is among the most important of the British artist's works ever to go under the hammer.

Last seen on the market in 1878, the painting represents the culmination of the painter's fascination with Rome.

The record for a Turner was set by a view of Venice that sold for $35.9m (£24.1m) at a New York auction in 2006.

At the time, the sale of Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio also set a new record for a British painting at auction.

The sale of Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino will form part of an evening sale of Old Master and early British paintings.

David Moore-Gwyn of Sotheby's said the masterpiece represented "Turner at his absolute best" and "one of the most evocative pictures of Rome ever painted".

Bought by the 5th Earl of Rosebery and his wife Hannah Rothschild in 1878, the painting has remained in their family collection ever since.

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:
Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond
Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat
Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Pub for One

Ever thought have owning your own island complete with a pub, just for yourself? Well a Swiss business man has gone one better than that.

A Swiss businessman is thought to have paid about £2.5m for a small group of islands off the west coast of Scotland.

The deal includes the island of Sanda, which has its own pub but only one resident, as well as the neighboring Sheep Island and Glunimore Insland.

I must admit the "Island of Sanda" sounds very like the location where Thomas the Tank engine and his friends shunt their stuff, which is the "Island of Sodor". Perhaps he's going to turn it into a train theme island??

The three islands lie off the tip of the Mull of Kintyre, 13 miles south of Campbeltown.

The sale was confirmed by Dick Gannon, who had owned the three islands for the past 20 years with his wife Meg.

The buyer was named locally as Michi Meier, who is originally from Switzerland but now lives in Sweden.

Mr Gannon, 59, said: "The island is sold, close to the asking price, to a customer sent over by Hamburg-based selling agents Vladi Private islands, but I can't say any more about the sale than that.

"The new owner is taking over at the end of April. It's a bit of a mystery what he is going to do but I am hoping it will go on as it is now, as a business, as a tourist destination."

I think it is a bargain. Sanda is a beautiful island, you can farm there and you have also got six self catering cottages and an award winning pub
Dick Gannon
Previous owner

Sanda had been on sale since August 2008. It was originally priced at £3.2m but dropped to offers around £2.5m.

Mr Gannon said: "I think it is a bargain. Sanda is a beautiful island, you can farm there and you have also got six self catering cottages and an award winning pub."

Mrs Gannon has always lived at the family home in Campbeltown while her husband was the island's only listed resident.

Although they have three sons and a daughter, none of their family was interested in taking over Sanda.

Mr Gannon said: "20 years we have had Sanda and it's been the experience of a lifetime really but it's a bit like hiding away and I now want to visit a few places and do a few things. There is a life outside Sanda."

Mr Meier could not be contacted, but has been speaking to a number of business people in Kintyre about services for the island in recent weeks.

Terry Smith, who owns farm land at Southend, near the Mull of Kintyre - the nearest mainland point to the 314 acre isle of Sanda - said Mr Meier had visited him last week.

Tourism destination

He said it was his understanding the new owner intended to run Sanda for his family's private use.

Kintyre Councillor Donald Kelly said: "I would sincerely hope that Sanda will stay as a tourism venue and that the community will be able to work constructively with the new owner to the benefit of Kintyre."

Sanda was home to only a few derelict buildings when the Gannons bought the three-isle chain for £250,000 in 1990.

Mr Gannon spent years building the island into a unique tourism destination, renovating the buildings into the award winning Byron Darnton tavern and six self catering cottages.

The Gannons, who marketed Sanda as "a piece of paradise", are selling up because of their decision to separate.

The island's 350 breeding ewes are included in the sale, along with chickens which produce free range eggs and enjoy such a good reputation that customers, including Princess Anne, have sailed in specially to buy them.

The other two islands in the chain are uninhabited apart from a flock of 60 Soay sheep on Sheep Island.

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:
Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond
Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat
Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Know What I Mean 'Arry"

Sad news today of the death of former BBC boxing commentator Harry Carpenter has died at the age of 84.

When boxing was in it's hayday, that is before there were 20 differant versions of the same championship, Harry Carpenter was the "voice of boxing" on the BBC, for over half a century.

Known for his double act with British boxing great Frank Bruno, Carpenter also presented Sportsnight, Grandstand and Sports Personality of the Year. Bruno's catch phrase "No what I mean 'arry", became common within the English language.

Carpenter who retired in 1994, also wrote for several news papers, covering many famous events, including the "Rumble in the Jungle" between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. He did though make a comeback in April 2001, when he provided expert analysis of Lennox Lewis's defence of his world heavyweight title against Hasim Rahman

He labelled the end of the contest - underdog Ali won by knockout in the eighth round to reclaim the world heavyweight crown at the age of 32 - as "the most extraordinary few seconds that I have ever seen in a boxing ring".

Of Ali himself, Carpenter said: "He is not only the most remarkable sports personality I have ever met, he is the most remarkable man I have ever met."

Carpenter had the privilege of presenting Ali with the BBC's Sports Personality of the Century award in 1999.

A year later, Carpenter recalled: "It was a wonderfully poignant moment. I was very flattered and pleased that I was asked to do the tribute to him.

"It was such a shame to see the old boy tottering about, but we had a chat afterwards and he is still very, very sharp. He remembers all those old days."

Carpenter was a regular Sports Personality of the Year co-host throughout the 1970s and 1980s, having first worked on the programme in 1958, and also covered a wide range of sports for the BBC, including rowing, tennis and golf.

His immediately recognisable, warm broadcasting style earned him plaudits outside the United Kingdom, too.

In 1989, he received American Sportscasters' Association and International Sportscaster of the Year awards.

Harry Carpenter surmised that other people's suggested epitaph for him might be "they stopped him talking at last". But his voice was one of authority that will echo down the years whenever people review the great days of boxing.

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:
Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond
Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat
Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Sign of the Times

A most people know who live in Great Britain there is a railway station in Wales which whose name is the longest word in the British language. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, is a Victorian composition primarily for the benefit of tourists, for the station serving the village of Llanfairpwll on the North Wales Coast Line from London Euston station to Holyhead.

This week however the Welsh language again caused a few issues.

When officials asked for the Welsh translation of a road sign, they thought the reply was what they needed. Unfortunately, the e-mail response to Swansea council said in Welsh: "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated".So that was what went up under the English version which barred lorries from a road near a supermarket.

"When they're proofing signs, they should really use someone who speaks Welsh," said journalist Dylan Iorwerth. Swansea Council became lost in translation when it was looking to halt heavy goods vehicles using a road near an Asda store in the Morriston area

All official road signs in Wales are bilingual, so the local authority e-mailed its in-house translation service for the Welsh version of: "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only".

The reply duly came back and officials set the wheels in motion to create the large sign in both languages.The notice went up and all seemed well - until Welsh speakers began pointing out the embarrassing error.

This is not ehe only time Welsh has been translated incorrectly or put in the wrong place:

Cyclists between Cardiff and Penarth in 2006 were left confused by a bilingual road sign telling them they had problems with an "inflamed bladder".

• In the same year, a sign for pedestrians in Cardiff reading 'Look Right' in English read 'Look Left' in Welsh.

• In 2006, a shared-faith school in Wrexham removed a sign which translated the Welsh for staff as "wooden stave".

• Football fans at a FA Cup tie between Oldham and Chasetown - two English teams - in 2005 were left scratching their heads after a Welsh-language hoarding was put up along the pitch. It should have gone to a match in Merthyr Tydfil.

• People living near an Aberdeenshire (Scotland) building site in 2006 were mystified when a sign apologizing for the inconvenience was written in Welsh as well as English.

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:
Book Information and Things UK - Across the Pond
Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests - A Book and a Chat
Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World - Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

Sunday, March 14, 2010

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY - At least Across the Pond

Today is Mother Day, rather Mothering Sunday in many places around the world, this is a post I made last year which many have asked me to post again, to explain the origins and changes of this date withing the USA.

Happy Mothers Day, or rather… Happy Mothering Sunday.

Hang on the Americans are thinking.. Mothers Day is in May?

Well it is but that is because an American lady and Hallmark decided it would be better in May than in March.

Mothering Sunday, sometimes called Rose Day is a Christian festival celebrated throughout Europe. It is used as a celebration of motherhood, and is now more and more being called Mothers Day.

A religious festival celebrating motherhood has been existent in since approximately 250 BC when the Romans honored the mother goddess Cybele during mid-March. As the Roman Empire and Europe converted to Christianity, Mothering Sunday celebrations became part of the liturgial calendar as Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent in honor of the Virgin Mary and “mother church”.

The other names attributed to this festival include Simnel Sunday, Refreshment Sunday and Rose Sunday.

Simnel Sunday is named after the practice of baking Simnel cakes to celebrate the reuniting of families during the austerity of Lent. Because there is traditionally a lightening of Lenten vows on this particular Sunday in celebration of the fellowship of family and church, the lesser-used label Refreshment Sunday is also used, although rarely today.

Rose Sunday is sometimes used as an alternative title for Mothering Sunday as well, as is witnessed by the purple robes of Lent being replaced in some churches by rose-colored ones. This title refers to the tradition of posies of flowers being collected and distributed at the service originally to all the mothers, but latterly to all women in the congregation.

I can well remember going to church as a family on this day and being given a little bundle of flowers to give to my mother

Mother's Day holiday, in the United States and Canada, celebrates motherhood generally and the positive contributions of mothers to society. It falls on the second Sunday of each May. It is the result of a campaign by Anna Marie Jarvis (1864–1948), who, following the death of her mother on May 9, 1905, devoted her life to establishing Mother's Day as a national, and later an international, holiday.

The first observances of both Mother's Day and Father's Day were held in the state of West Virginia.

Interestingly, by the 1920s, Anna Jarvis had become soured on the commercialization of the holiday. She incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association, claimed copyright on the second Sunday of May, and was once arrested for disturbing the peace. She and her sister Ellsinore spent their family inheritance campaigning against the holiday. Both died in poverty.

Jarvis, says her New York Times obituary, became embittered because too many people sent their mothers a printed greetings card.

Heaven knows what she would think of how it has become with Fathers Day, Grandmothers Day and every down to second cousin twice removed day.As she said,

"A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment!"

So Happy Mothers Day – especially to those mothers “Across the Pond”

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Book and a Chat with "Molly Roe"

Until about five years ago, my guest on today's a book and a chat "Molly Roe" had written only only academic papers, but after following her family history through her hobby of genealogy lead her to produce her first, but certainly not last novel "Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires".

her writing combines family genealogy, Irish and coal region lore, local history, and imagination to create historical fiction for young people.

During the show we were told many fascinating details about the history of Pennsylvania and the "Molly Maguires". the whole history of the area and the people has been investigated in great detail by Molly, not only for her current novel "Call me Kate" but as we heard during the show for a follow up novel (or two).

"Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires"is dramatic and adventuresome, yet expressive of daily life in the patches of the hard coal region during the Civil War era. This novel will appeal to readers of the Dear America series, as well as more mature readers who will enjoy the story's rich context and drama.

As a junior high teacher, Molly has been able to not only share this book with her students, but also see how the knowledge has lead some of them to carry out their own investigation into the past. The book has proven so popular and able to provide not only education but a great story, that Molly Roe recently was the the silver recipient in the Mom’s Choice Awards.

So sit back and listen to show or else download it's mp3 file and listen later to "A Book and a Chat with Molly Roe"


Direct Link:
"A Book and a Chat with Molly Roe"

or you can download the mp3 file of the show from
"Molly Roe"

You can find out more about Vincent and his books at:
"Molly Roe - Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires"

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Book and a Chat with "Vincent Zandri"

You ever have one of those days where you just can't catch up with things? Tonight's show was one of those events. I was running a little late due to work, children and the "I've just cooked that dinner you had better eat it before your show starts." I logged onto the system and switchboard to find some strange entry for Skype instead of my normal dial in number, then it hit me. For some reason or other my show booking had not taken when I set it up last weekend. So a mad dash to get the show up and running,meant that my guest and I were just a few minutes late. Still the show proved more than worth those couple of harassed minutes.

Vincent Zandri was my special guest on "A Book and a Chat" tonight, was award-winning novelist, essayist and freelance photojournalist and author of four books including his latest novel "Moon Light Falls".

Vincent proved a great guest sharing many incites and anecdotes both from journey to the publication of his latest novel, to how the modern use of social networking had helped him.

From majoring in "Rock Star" at college, and how music has been part of his life, to writing blogs for "Russia Today TV" Vincent Zandri has lived what can only be called an interesting life.

His latest novel "Moon Light Falls" is Vincents fourth book following in the successful wake of "As Catch Can" and "Godchild". It is a thriller full of twists and turns, which as Vincent explains during the show, surprises many readers with the plot, let alone the ending.

So sit back and listen to show or else download it's mp3 file and listen later to "A Book and a Chat with Vincent Zandri"


Direct Link:
"A Book and a Chat with Vincent Zandri"

or you can download the mp3 file of the show from
"Vincent Zandri"

You can find out more about Vincent and his books at:
"Vincent Zandri - Moon Light Falls"

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Book and a Chat with "Heather Woodward"

With the rise in popularity over the last five or six years of programs such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Whisper to name but two, the acceptance and popularity of the paranormal has increased enormously. My guest on tonight"s "A Book and a Chat" is a Heather Woodward, a clairvoyant, an “accidental” medium, psychometrist (listen to the show to find out about that) and author of "Ghosts of Central Arizona" which was launched this year.

Heather is from a family of people with such gifts and has been doing tarot readings for many years. As she explained during the program, she is an “accidental” medium, which means sometimes she does get in contact with the dead, though this is by accident, as she prefers dealing with and helping the living.

Amongst the other items heather shared with us is the paranormal documentary "Dead House" which she produced, edited and directed. Dead house regularly hits the Top 20 Best Selling DVD Rank on Amazon in the Supernatural category.

Her latest production is her book "Ghosts of Central Arizona" is a book about her personal experiences in the some of the most haunted and supernatural locations in Sedona, Jerome, Cottonwood and surrounding areas.

The show is one that will interest many listeners, as we range from headless bodies to Angel cards during this fascinating thirty minute show.

So sit back and listen to show or else download it's mp3 file and listen later to "A Book and a Chat with Heather Woodward"


Direct Link:
"A Book and a Chat with Heather Woodward"

or you can download the mp3 file of the show from
"Heather Woodward"

You can find out more about Christa and her book at:
"Heather Woodward - Ghosts of Central America"

Barry Eva (Storyheart)